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Putin, Netanyahu hold crunch talks on Syria

China Daily/Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-15 08:57

Putin, Netanyahu hold crunch talks on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the conflict in Syria on Tuesday as concerns grow about a spiraling death toll and Moscow's arms deliveries to the Damascus government.

"I certainly expect to speak with you about the situation in the region, including around Syria," Putin told Netanyahu at the start of the talks at the Russian leader's Black Sea residence in Sochi.

"Together we can think about how to make it (the Middle East region) more secure and stable," Netanyahu replied in televised remarks.

Netanyahu is the latest world leader to knock on Putin's door for talks on Syria in recent days, after US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Prime Minister David Cameron met the Russian president last week.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also due to travel to Russia later this week.

The West and Russia have repeatedly been at odds over the Syria conflict, with the United States and Europe accusing Moscow of seeking to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supplying his government with military hardware.

The flurry of diplomatic activity indicates some hope on the part of the West that after years of alternately cajoling and berating it, Russia could still be persuaded to soften its line over the conflict.

Cameron said on Monday after talks with US President Barack Obama that London and Moscow had found "common ground" on the crisis.

Obama was more cautious, however, saying that there "remain lingering suspicions between Russia and other members of the G8 and or the West".

The US leader added that Russia as a G8 member had an "interest as well as an obligation" to help end the violence.

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